The Series Of The Manners: Ithar (selflessness)
Posted 31 January 2005 - 01:34 PM
by Amr Khaled
Translated by the [img]daralislamlive(contact admin if its a beneficial link)
Many of us know nothing about this particular manner although it is a basic type of faith. Ithar is very difficult to translate in any language. However, the closest meaning to it is selflessness. It means to prefer your brother and his well being over yourself, sacrificing the present life for the sake of the afterlife.
Examples of Ithar
The Prophet (PBUH) experienced many situations of Ithar throughout his life. He would give his own robe for people to cover with during the cold nights of Madinah. The Prophet (PBUH) said: one amongst you believes (truly) till one likes for his brother or for his neighbor that which he loves for himself." It is not the case of money, but it is all about the Ithar of souls.
The companions have also shown the best examples of the Ithar of souls. Abu Dujana, the human shield, protected the Prophet in the battle of Uhud; he had covered the Prophet with his back while spears pierced him until he looked like an urchin!
Ithar is usually referred to individuals; however, it can also be referred to a whole city. An example is that of the Ansar (supporters) in Madinah during the migration from Makkah to Madinah. When the immigrants, who left everything behind them in Makkah, reached Madinah, the Ansar shared everything with them; their land, their homes, their clothes, and even their money. The Prophet promised them Paradise as a return for their Ithar.
In the battle of Yarmuk, Ikremah Ibn Abi Gahl was severely injured and extremely thirsty. He was lying next to nine Muslims who were all worse than his state. Ikremah's cousin came to him with water. Ikremah's refused to drink, telling his cousin: "Give it to my brother first!" His cousin went to the first man lying next to him and gave him some water. The man said: "Give it to my brother first!" and so on, until the tenth man told him: "Pass it to Ikremah." When his cousin returned to give him some water he had died, a martyr, from his wounds and thirst.
Ithar can continue after death in some cases! When Umar Ibn El-Khattab became ill, he sent a messenger to Lady Aisha to ask her for permission to get buried next to the Prophet. Lady Aisha said, I swear I wanted this place to be my grave but I will give it to Umar! Lady Aisha left the grave which lay next to her husband and father and gave it to Umar, what a great act of Ithar!
Another example is of Abu Huraira who was very poor, as we mentioned before. He said that he fainted from the extent of his hunger. People thought I was mad, but I swear by Allah, nothing was wrong with me except my hunger. So when a man passed by me, I would tell him to wait and listen to the verses from the Qur'an which talks about giving charity and spending on the poor, in hope that he would maybe spend on me! But I would never ask for money.
Posted 08 November 2005 - 09:05 AM
Then the Prophet passed by, looked at him and said: Abu Huraira follow me home. So he followed him and the Prophet said: Maybe you are hungry Abu Huraira. He replied, Yes, I am. So the Prophet asked if there was any food at home. They replied: No Allah's messenger.Then one of the Ansar came with a bowl of milk. So the Prophet felt happy. He told Abu Huraira to call the people of Al-Suffah (Poor people who lived in Madinah) to drink with them (the prophet wanted to teach him the Ithar); Abu Huraira said that he felt so depressed but had to obey the Prophet's orders! They were one hundred people! The Prophet told him: Let them drink Abu Huraira.
So he passed by each one, each of them drank until he was full and passed the bowl to the next person. Abu Huraira feared that the bowl of milk would finish, without him having any. After the people of Al-Suffah drank the milk, they left. So the Prophet asked Abu Huraira who was left to drink. He replied, Me and you Allah's messenger? The Prophet told him to drink. He drank and the Prophet told him drink again, and so on, until he told the Prophet that he could not find any room in his stomach for more. So he gave the rest of the milk to the Prophet, for him to drink.
Try it brothers and sisters, try to make Ithar on something quite little and you'll see how Allah will bless it and make it grow.
When Jaafar Ibn Abi Taleb passed away, he left three children. The Prophet (PBUH) took the children out of the house and asked for someone to raise them. Three people said: raise them. The three of these people were poorer than each other, the narrator says!
Levels of Ithar
The great scholar Al-Ghazali says: "Ithar has three levels;
1- The first is to treat your seravnt as a brother, you give him as same as what you eat from. (A Muslim should treat a servant in a very good way, so he should give him clothes from what he wears and food from what he eats).
2- The second level; place your brother or sister in Islam as your equal.
3- The third level; place him over yourself and prefer finishing his tasks more than finishing yours."
Lastly, what is the highest level of Ithar? It's preferring to please Allah over pleasing the self (your desires and worldly materialistic matters) and to increase Allah's satisfaction than satisfying yourself.